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By Riley Taylor


England: 342 (Foakes 107, D Perera 5-75) & 322-6 dec (Jennings 146 not out, Herath 2-59)

Sri Lanka: 203 (Mathews 52, Moeen 4-66) & 250 (Mathews 53, Moeen 4-71)

England win by 211 runs

Moeen Ali took 4-71 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 250, handing England their first Test away win in two years.

The Worcestershire off-spinner became just the fourth Englishman to score over 2,500 runs and to have taken 150 or more wickets when he had Akila Dananjaya caught at slip by Ben Stokes.

England’s last away win was in Chittagong in 2016, beating Bangladesh by 22 runs. It was not convincing, but in Galle, England looked a changed team.

Resuming on their overnight score of 15-0, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva continued to build as they looked to salvage an unlikely draw for Sri Lanka. In the 22nd over, the pair brought up their 50 partnership but two balls later, England got the breakthrough, Silva L.B.W to Jack Leach for 30.

Three overs later and Karunaratne was out for 30, chipping a simple catch straight back to Moeen off his own bowling. Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis then rallied together to put on 39 in 12 overs. However, just before lunch, de Silva was caught by Joe Root from the bowling of Ben Stokes for 21 to leave Sri Lanka at 98-3.

This brought former one-day captain Angelo Mathews together with Mendis and the pair put on a healthy 46, frustrating England. It could have been a lot less if James Anderson had not put down a simple chance off Stokes to dismiss Mathews.

It was Leach that got the breakthrough, firstly having Mendis caught at mid-off by Moeen for 45, before bowling Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal for one with a delivery that spun. Niroshan Dickwella and Mathews negotiated Sri Lanka through till tea, with England just needing five wickets for victory.

Moeen was reintroduced after the break and produced a match-winning spell, getting a wicket with the first ball of the session, with Dickwella being caught at slip by Ben Stokes for 16. He then got the big wicket of Mathews as he chipped a catch to mid-off for 53. Stokes then got his second catch of the innings when Dananjaya edged Moeen to the Durham all-rounder at slip for eight.

Adil Rashid then chipped in with a wicket as Dilruwan Perera edged again to Stokes at slip for 30, meaning that apart from Root (who only bowled one over), every one of England’s bowlers had taken a wicket in the match.

Rangana Herath walked to the middle for the last time in his career, receiving a standing ovation from the Galle crowd. However, it was not to be a fairytale ending for the veteran left-arm spinner as he was run out by Stokes for five as England wrapped up a famous victory by 211 runs.

More Overtime Cricket News:

Day 3 Report:

Edited by Ben Knapton

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July 2024